Main at Lamar
Postmarked: July 20,1944; Houston, Texas 1
Stamp: 3c Blue Win the War #908
To: Master Bowie Smyth
808 W: Nueces
Message: Dear Bowie
How are you fine I hope. I haven't seen or heard from you in so long so I thought I would Drop you & Bubba a line. I bet anything. I can whip you & Bubba in Bowling well write me as soon as you can - your friend (I hope
Bowie Smyth was a little over 15 when he received this postcard from a buddy nicknamed “Da Kow.” Bowie was born George Howard Smyth on 29 April 1929 in Victoria , Texas, the son of William O’Brien Smyth, a railroad train dispatcher and telegrapher, and Norma Emelia Leuschner, an immigrant from Germany. Bowie had two older brothers, William O’Brien Smyth, Jr., 8 years older and Frederick Charles Smyth, 4 years older. By the time of this postcard Bowie’s older brother William O. was in the Air Corps and his other brother Frederick abandoned his studies at the University of Texas and was also in the Air Corps. In a heavy bombing raid over Germany five months later on 17 December 1944, Frederick’s plane was shot down and he was taken as POW to Stalag 2A in Brandenburg, to be repatriated after the war.
Bowie's family had deep roots in Victoria. His grandfather, Charles Smyth was born in Gavern, Ireland in 1838, immigrating to the US in 1861; his grandmother, Ursula Willemin, daughter of August and Magdeline Barache Willemin, was born in Ileville near Paris, France in 1849 and immigrated as an infant with her parents. Charles and Ursula were married in Victoria in 1880, when Charles worked as a railroad overseer and Ursula kept as many as 6 boarders with the assistance of a black servant. In addition to William O’Brien Smyth, Bowie’s father, born in 1890, they had three daughters: Janie (1883), Magdaline (1888), and Anastasia (1892), none of whom married.
Bowie and his brother William O., Jr. followed their brother Frederick to the University of Texas at Austin In 1949. They did not seem to have obtained degrees, but stayed in Austin for a couple of years, Bowie worked in the State of Texas General Land Office until 1953, and William joined the Air Force to serve in Korea. Bowie returned to Victoria to run in an unsuccessful bid for the state representative in 1954, but was unsuccessful. By 1960 Frederick was working as the district geologist for Sun Oil, and Bowie joined him there to work as an analyst for Shell Oil. Bowie married Betty Callaway and eventually moved to Houston.
George Howard “Bowie” Smyth died in 2011, two years after Betty passed away; they are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston. The Catholic Cemetery in Victoria holds the remains of most of the Victoria Smyth family members: Charles (1838-1918), Ursula “Auslie” or “Arslie” (1849-1929), Janie (1883-1961), Lanie (1888-1936), Anastasia (1892-1969), William O. Smyth, Sr. (1890-1952), and Norma L. Smyth (1893-1945). Second Lieutenant William O’Brien Smyth, Jr. (1921-2005) is buried in Pflugerville, Travis County, TX near Austin where he lived much of his life, and 2nd Lieutenant Frederick Charles Smyth (1925-2017) and his wife Margaret Mary (1926-2003) are buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso, TX.